Chris and I met at the dog park in Monte Clare for the day’s Perkiomen Trail ride. I chose the Perk because its shaded for much of its length and the temperature was heading for 90 degrees. We agreed that we’d wing the distance after I insisted I wasn’t going to spend all day out in the heat. We eventually settled on twenty miles, which turned into 22 when I suggested we turn around at the first big bridge over the Perkiomen.

The first stop was in Lower Perkiomen Valley Park. As Chris pedaled up he asked “Why are we stopping here?”

“I need to get a photo of you on your bike. Whenever I post pictures of you on my blog my pageviews soar.”

“Wow! I’m special!”

Just off the trail, down a side road, we went into the woods when I heard water flowing over stone. I’d never known there was an old dam on the creek here, but there was the Indian Head Dam. With the recent rains the creek was swollen and the volume of water was impressive.  Nearby were the remains of an old mill, and we poked around in them. I spent ten minutes walking on the rocks along the creek photographing the dam, while Chris patiently waited and sweated in the shade. Note in the first photo there’s a man cooling off in the creek.

Once out of the park we were on gravel and under tree cover. We both felt cooler, but it was still hot. However, as we were moving we cooled off. We both kept hydrated – I estimate I consumed over 120 ounces of fluid during the ride, and I can’t imagine Chris drank much less.

On the way up, I decided to put on my Captain’s hat for Team Clydesdale, and spoke with Chris about training. “How fast can you made your sled go?”

“I don’t know. I’m happy with the speed I have. I should be fine for the MS City to Shore.”

“But sprinting will make you faster overall by raising your top speed. As your maximum increases your average will go up.”


“Do it, fatso!”

And Chris took off like a rocket. A big rocket, but still, he took off, and I only caught him when he ran out of steam a mile later. Chris is super-obese, but unlike me when I was the same weight, he’s physically active. He has enormous leg muscles, muscles built up from carrying his mass around. Those muscles were put to work on the bike, and it was impressive.

I know interval training doesn’t work immediately, but doing the sprint seemed to improve Chris’ speed during the rest of the ride. While I still rode faster overall, when I waited for him to catch up, I waited less and less. Perhaps the sprint developed his confidence?

After the turn around at the bridge, I felt hungry. I saw signs for Iggy’s Pizza a mile from the turn around, and when I saw they had water ice, I decided we should stop. It was worth the visit; Iggy’s is a small shop, but the pizza is great, and so is the water ice. And the air conditioning felt good too. 
The only drawback was that it gave Chris and I the chance to talk. My friend could fall asleep in a public meeting and on awaking argue with whoever was speaking. Normally I can resist, but I was tired from the heat, and so when Chris dangled a political hook in front of me I took the bait. I won’t attempt to reproduce the entire exchange, since I have no desire to compete with Reason or National Review for readers, but here’s a sample:

Chris practicing for his stemwinder at Iggy’s Pizza.

“Even if Texas’ Constitution doesn’t have a specific clause allowing it to leave, the right of secession is protected for the states” said Chris.

“Sorry, its not. What are the first words of the Constitution?”

“We the People.”

“The next bit, please.”

“We the People, in order to form a more perfect union-“

“More perfect that the Articles of Confederation, a document that bound the states to each other in perpetuity. The Constitution was designed to replace the Articles and improve them. Hence, no leaving.”

“That’s just your interpretation…..”

We had the staff of the pizza shop listening to every word. But when Chris started an extended discourse on the Tenth Amendment with one of the shop guys I exercised my right to secede and left. Chris finished his speech along with his water ice, and caught up to me at the Collegeville trailhead twenty minutes later. One side effect of my departure from the impromptu session of Libertarian pillow-talk is that Chris had to hustle to catch me. In other words, more interval training.

The ride back was uneventful, save for the final three miles, which saw Chris decide he liked interval training and riding ahead of me. He was off gravel, and back on pavement, so he turned on the rockets – figuratively, not literally – and reached the car ten minutes before I did. We were both disgusting sweaty messes. We had a good time.